Christians in India are facing threats as Hindu extremists have taken over village councils to pass laws restricting religions other than Hindu. The laws reportedly make Christian prayer, meetings, and literature illegal, and non-Hindu missionaries are now banned in 50 towns.
Though India’s constitution guarantees citizens freedom of religion, state government authorities in Chhattisgarh have not intervened with the new laws. Authorities maintain that they are monitoring the situation.
Church leaders say that Christians have already been affected. At the most extreme, Christians have been denied access to food and water, or evicted from villages.
Aneesh Andrews, Methodist district superintendent for the area said, “In some places, the passing of the resolution has been followed by attacks on pastors and pulling down of village churches.”
Groups are calling on the government to stop the Hindu extremists from further persecution religious minorities.
“The government must reverse the decisions of these [villages] immediately to restore the confidence of the Christian community in the state, which is under considerable stress in recent days,” said Vijayesh Lal, national director of the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India.
Akhilesh Edgar, Alliance Defending Freedom India community relations manager agreed. “These resolutions must be immediately withdrawn, and the state should take strict measures so that non-state actors are prevented from inciting violence,” he said.
Publication date: September 2, 2014